Apple Accused of Supporting Sweatshops in China
Mon, 19 Jun 2006 10:30:07
Apple Computer is vowing to investigate a report from U.K. paper The Mail on Sunday that a Chinese factory that manufactures the company's wildly popular iPod line is operating under sweatshop conditions. According to the article, workers at the factory are paid as little as $50 per month for working 15-hour days, live onsite in dorm-like quarters, and are forbidden to visit with any outside guests.
The plant in question is not run by Apple, who, like many electronics companies, contracts out its manufacturing. Instead, it is controlled by the corporate behemoth Hon Hai Precision, which also does business under the name Foxconn Electronics, Inc.
One Chinese business newspaper has dismissed the accusations as a cheap attempt to make headlines, and another has quoted plant officials denying the charges. China's state-run media, however, isn't exactly hard-hitting, and Apple is, by all accounts, treating the charge seriously. An Apple spokesman insisted that they will have zero tolerance for any of their associates violating its Supplier Code of Conduct, which stipulates that workers should not be made to work longer than 60 hour weeks.
Reporters from The Mail visited several plants, and the worst was the one located in Longhua, which is said to employ an astounding 200,000 people and has become known as "iPod City."
In more bad news for Apple, their iPod and iTunes are expected to soon get a serious challenge in the marketplace courtesy of Microsoft -- news which caused Apple's stock prices to sink during the past week.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff